Honestly, I wish I had found this book earlier.
The first time I had heard about Reasons to Stay Alive was in my Creative Writing class. We all had to talk about a book we had read recently (mine was Burnt Paper Sky by Gilly Macmillan), and someone in our class spoke about this book, and immediately, I knew I needed to read it ASAP.
In this book, Matt Haig talks about his own personal experience of having suicidal thoughts, social anxiety and depression, and as someone who deals with these issues myself, I felt like I could have used this earlier. It explains depression and anxiety perfectly; it is so easy to understand, unlike most self-help books out there, that anyone could read about it.
But I suppose the main reason why I loved it was because I could relate to 90% of the book. As a man who is going through a dark time at the moment, you start to convince yourself that you’re the only bloke with mental health problems, even if people say otherwise. I don’t know any guy who’s suffering from anxiety and depression like me, so to read this and actually think “Wow, people were actually telling the truth…”, it made me feel like I wasn’t alone.
Not only was it relatable, but it was funny (which for a self-help book, I was pleasantly surprised), and inspiring. As Matt Haig said: “Words – spoken or written – are what connect us to the world, and so speaking about it to people, and writing about this stuff, helps connect us to each other, and to our true selves.” And after reading this, it’s made me inspired to write about my life too.
Now, obviously, it hasn’t cured me. I’m not “myself” again, I’m not perfect. And to be perfectly honest, I didn’t expect it to. However, I know that I will re-read this book in the future, again and again. This book will be my religious text for the next few months, even years, until I can finally get better… if that day ever happens.